The different types of silk weaving

There are a multitude of ways to weave silk, it is complicated to understand when shopping the difference between silk organza and silk chiffon for example.

Silk chiffon

What is silk chiffon used for?

Chiffon is generally used in haute couture outfits, formal wear or for special occasion outfits such as wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses or mother of the bride dresses.

We use it in this type of outfit because it is a very soft, fluid and above all light fabric, perfect for long and beautiful princess dresses. In addition, its lightness will give way to transparency, which allows you to observe the prints on each side of the fabric and to play with overlays.

Chiffon is also popular as a fabric for making scarves, scarves and lingerie. In addition, men are not left aside, also male boxers or pajamas are made from chiffon.

Its additional benefits are: it is available in many shades, it can be shinier or more matte depending on preference, and in hot weather, chiffon clothing keeps the body cool thanks to its absorbent benefits .

Finally, where does muslin come from and what is it?

Muslin is basically an extremely light cotton fabric which originated in Bangladesh, it arrived in Europe in the 18th century, in Italy more precisely and quickly became popular in France.

Silk organza:

Where can you find silk organza?

Silk organza is also a light fabric, rather transparent and therefore regularly used for details such as ruffles or to add pleats in special occasion outfits such as wedding, cocktail or formal dresses.

However, unlike silk chiffon, it is a fairly rigid fabric with a matte appearance and a stiff drape, which greatly simplifies its hold. We also find a lot of silk organza in specialized dance outfits such as classical dance with the tutu or in everyday domestic products such as lampshades, curtains and certain decorations.

Finally we find silk organza in accessories, particularly bags. Of course not just any bag, it's more about special bags, like wedding handbags or bags that protect plants.

Where does organza come from and what is it?

Also known as organzine, organza is a material traditionally produced from silk, today there is synthetic organza but we will come back to that below. Organza comes from Turkestan, located in Central Asia, since the material has been globalized and, moreover, the largest exporter of silk is China, although some other Asian countries produce it but their quantity is much lower . So organza is produced more commonly in China or Europe, after exporting silk from Asia there.

Coming back to synthetic, there is indeed synthetic organza made with polyester or nylon threads, productions that we find particularly in China, hence the lower quality and more accessible price of certain organza clothing . You can recognize synthetic quite easily thanks to its shine and of course its appearance which can be seen and felt.

How is organza woven?

All of this still has a particular way of weaving, whether it is synthetic or silk. To create organza, you will need the finest threads, also called fibers. The fibers are twisted in order to obtain high twist yarns. To obtain such a high twist fiber, the yarns must be twisted in opposite directions, which will tighten them as much as possible and make them even more resistant. Then the fibers become yarns and can be processed and combed to produce a plain weave fabric.

Subsequently, the threads are coated with an acid which will allow them to become harder and more rigid, which gives particular interest to this fabric.

Finally, the threads are woven with other elements necessary to hold the future fabric and all this will provide the organza.

Pongee silk

How is pongee silk used?

Pongee silk is the ideal fabric for designing scarves, handkerchiefs or for clothing linings but also for furnishings. It is smooth, shiny and naturally white, and depending on the thickness of the threads used, the fabric can be more or less transparent.

The primary advantage of this fabric is that it can be dyed any color with almost any technique. In addition, since it is light and thin, pongee silk is ideal for printed designs because the inks pass through the fabric without problems and the colors will be visible and clear on both the front and back.

How is pongee silk made?

The production of pongee silk comes from the association between wool and silk fill, the silk fill is the coarsest part of the cotton, the one that does not unwind.

Its weaving is simple and it is designed under several mommes, the weight of pongee silk can vary between 5 and 16 mommes. However, it is more common to find 8 mommes because it is the ideal weight and thickness for crossing inks when a design is desired on the front and back.

Silk twill

What does silk twill look like?

Silk twill has a feel close to silk satin, what will differentiate them is the semi-matte appearance of silk twill. It achieves this appearance thanks to its weaving.

Twill silk is the opposite of pongee silk, as said previously, pongee silk is ideal for crossing inks, as for twill silk, it is produced with thick threads which gives it a greater thickness and therefore prevents the inks from passing through. The twill silk has such a thickness that the ink hardly penetrates the fabric and will give it this ability to have one side with bright colors and on the other side darker colors and this famous matte appearance.

In the same way, twill silk has oblique stripes which highlight its colors, in addition to its 14 mommes which gives it a thickness and therefore a slightly heavy weight and a beautiful drape.

In what area is silk twill used?

It is a fabric of choice generally used in haute couture, it is also famous for being used in the famous silk squares of the luxury brand Hermès.

Silk satin

How is silk satin used?

It's time to talk about the most famous of silk weaves, silk satin. This is used in all ranges of products that require fabric, ranging from the lightest and finest underwear, to the most imposing sheets and household linens. Whatever the product, it is not necessarily made with synthetic fabric or cotton. Of course it will be more expensive because it is a more complex weave and a rarer material, however with many additional benefits than other fabrics and weavings.

To begin with, satin is not a material but a weaving technique and silk is the material that will be handled. It is a rather complicated weaving technique to use; weft threads must be woven onto a warp thread with a minimum number of 4 tram threads. The crossings between the warps and the wefts will allow them to hide and give a smooth and shiny result. This gives a pearly and opaque appearance to the fabric and immeasurable softness, especially when it comes to silk.

However, nowadays it is possible to make satin from synthetic fabric such as polyester and these will be of less good quality and in particular compared to silk satin, but they still have certain advantages that satin has. of silk, it is therefore practical for Vegan people or people with low financial capacities for the areas concerned.

A little history, where does silk satin come from?

Well, for the material, silk, it comes from China and was born more than 2500 years ago. Silk was not a luxury material in China and the countries surrounding China, wearing silk clothing was completely normal and did not denote a particular social class. Regarding weaving, satin, it was born in Europe in the first country, outside of Asia, which discovered silk and this happened in the 12th century. Then, silk satin developed throughout Europe from the 14th century and was reserved for the high society only because it was very expensive.

Silk taffeta

How is silk taffeta described?

Like the previous types of weaves, this one has a light, smooth and shiny appearance, but that is only about appearance when it comes to silk taffeta. To the touch, the fabric will be dry and grainy. Additionally, he is in no way transparent and has a powerful reflective ability that makes him so unique. Its weaving will allow silk taffeta to be a stiff fabric that will hold itself together, ideal for furnishings and certain high-end clothing, particularly dresses.

Also, it has the particularity of having a specific sound when rubbed against itself since it is a dry fabric, unlike other silk weaves which have no sound when rubbed because the fabric is extremely soft and smooth.

What is the origin of silk taffeta?

Silk taffeta was the favorite fabric of great couturiers after making its debut in Europe during the Renaissance. Silk taffeta, like many other fabrics, is of oriental origin. It is also to its origins that this fabric owes its name, because taffeta is the French of the Persian word “taftâ” which means “which is woven”. Finally, it is with this fabric that the Mongolfier brothers made the canvas for their hot air balloons, which is why today, many canvases are made from taffeta but not necessarily from silk taffeta.

In the 21st century, most weavings originally woven with particular yarns such as silk, are now woven with synthetic fibers such as polyester or artificial fibers such as viscose.

How is silk taffeta made?

For its design, taffeta needs continuous threads, rare in silk, so the choice of threads is radical to the quality of the fabric and is woven with two, three up to four silk threads to create this strong weave.

Silk crepe

How is silk crepe used?

Like all the silk weaves mentioned so far, silk crepe is also ideal for special occasion outfits, but also for everyday clothes and women's clothing for the most part. With its slightly matte and chrome effect, you can find silk crepe more generally in blouses, pants, skirts or everyday dresses.

However, nowadays, it is very likely that it is not silk crepe but crepe woven from synthetic or artificial fibers, because silk is an expensive and luxurious material since it is rarer and therefore Obviously it will be less expensive for manufacturers to offer items in polyester, polyamide or viscose crepe. What will differentiate this fabric from others is its texture, both soft and rough, silk crepe is very opaque.

What is the origin of silk crepe?

Silk crepe owes its name to its design, crepe is the successor to the Old French word cresp, which itself comes from the Latin word crispus which means wavy, curly. During its design, the crepe will undergo different processes in order to give it an appearance, therefore, wavy, curly, hence the word crepe. The processes which will be carried out will be a twist under high tension which will give a slightly elastic effect to the fabric, and a passage at high temperature which is optional but this allows a fairly effective deformation of the fibers and makes the feel of the fabric even more unique. .

Of course, there is always that falling side that we find in every silk weave but you always have to pay attention to the weight of the fabric, especially with silk.

Just like these friends that we mentioned previously, today it is no longer a weaving entirely dedicated to silk but since it is not just any weaving, not all materials are suitable. You will then only find silk obviously, wool, polyester and cotton, but it is not a fabric that you will find with just any material.

History-wise, crepe comes from South Asia, from India more precisely, and was imported to Europe during Antiquity. Subsequently, this fabric became popular and was widely used in the burial field. When a black crepe fabric was worn on the arm to accompany the outfit, it meant that the person was in mourning and this custom continued until the beginning of the 20th century and the expression “put crepe on your outfit” , which meant to go into mourning, was born.

Silk ikat

What is the origin of silk ikat?

Silk ikat is a traditional fabric in several countries. It is in India, Indonesia and other Asian countries that this fabric will be used only in ceremonial outfits and special events. It is a luxurious fabric which, in formal wear, represents wealth and prestige. It is generally a saroug, a long cloth worn on the shoulder by women and men, but it can also be a scarf. Silk ikat is also used for artistic purposes in other Asian countries, notably Cambodia, where entire historical scenes are woven into it.

Silk ikat appeared around the 6th century in China and continued to evolve and travel across Asia and the Middle East to quickly become the specialty of Uzbek, a country in Central Asia, today renowned for its know-how on silk in addition to its mosques and mausoleums. Silk ikat even traveled to Latin America, and there, this fabric also became a traditional fabric to make their outfits which are now part of their culture.

Later, Cambodia also made silk ikat its specialty, although in a more artistic field.

How is silk ikat designed?

It is with many techniques and several people that the design of silk ikat is done. Each piece designed with silk ikat is unique, as it is a weaving technique that requires several people to research the ideal patterns and colors, and of course the dyeing and weaving. The patterns will generally be geometric and rather abstract shapes or more complex patterns such as plants, figures, bodies, etc.

Ikat is often made with silk but since it is still a rare and expensive material, cotton is also used. There can be ikat made entirely with silk but also entirely in cotton and finally in cotton and silk, the two fabrics mixed.

Regarding its elaboration, ikat has a very particular technique which makes the fabric even more unique, it is a question of the dyeing of the fabric. The warp threads or weft threads are pre-dyed before being assembled together and creating the final fabric. But there is an additional difficulty, for dyeing, the threads are in skeins and ties will be tightened around the parts where we want to keep the dye introduced. Positioning is extremely important in design as it is this that will create the unique patterns of the ikat.

It is for all these reasons that it is a long and complex fabric to design.

Wild silk

What is wild silk?

To finish this article, we are going to talk about a more particular silk fabric, this is wild silk. We will not talk about a weave but a material which will give a different result from natural silk despite a similar weave. Wild silk has the particularity of not coming from butterflies raised by humans but from wild butterflies, which is very rare and therefore produces less regular and smooth threads.

How to tell the difference between natural silk and wild silk?

During weaving, depending on the quality of the threads and the quality of the weaving, the fabric has more or less “fluffs”, the fluffs are buttons, irregularities that we find on these fabrics. The more there are, the lower quality the fabric and the less expensive it will be. It is easy to recognize a wild silk fabric, thanks to its irregularities and its less dazzling shine than natural silk.

It is also not complicated to observe the superior or inferior quality of the fabric, this will be done according to the quantity of irregularities, if there are very few the fabric will be more luxurious and then more expensive while keeping the authentic appearance of wild silk.

As with all types of silk weaves, thickness is one of the main factors in the quality it represents. The fabric will be of better quality and above all more durable over time if the fabric is thicker, in addition to avoiding transparency and having to put several layers of fabric. Because it is wild cocoons found and collected from trees in the wild, its threads are coarser and have a slightly more matte and stiff appearance than natural silk.

Weaving wild silk is rather complicated although it is classic in the arrangement of the threads. Its weaving is first of all only done manually, a machine cannot do it. For what ? Because pressure is exerted by the fingers during weaving and due to its irregularity, the manual is necessary for its design. Finally, it is important to know that wild silk is silk in the wild and above all the first to be exploited by man, so it is a material with a history dating back 5000 years BC.